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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

April 12, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Rewind: Google+ Hangout on guidance counseling and college readiness

Watch a replay of our April 17 Education Lab Google+ Hangout about college readiness and guidance counseling. Our panelists were:  Jameil Butler, an adviser with the National College Advising Corps in Oakland Angela Tang, a regular school counselor at DeAnza High, in Richmond, Calif., where the Advising Corps has been at work for three years Zoey Salsbury, a student…

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0 Comments | More in News | Topics: college counseling, live chat, National College Advising Corps

April 18, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Round-up: WWU president criticized over language in push for diversity, school-stabbing case settled

WWU president under fire for says school is too white (AP): Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard has drawn criticism for his comments that “ … if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university.” Shepard says he is being intentionally provocative in order to emphasize the need for more diversity at Western.

Student who was stabbed receives $1.5 million: A King County jury has awarded $1.5 million to April Lutz, a former Snohomish High School student who was stabbed in a school bathroom in 2011 and nearly died. Her attacker, a fellow student, had been expelled for threatening to kill another student’s boyfriend but was later allowed to return to class.

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April 18, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Washington’s two-tiered system of higher education

Last Sunday’s story, “From Slipping Through the Cracks to the College Track,” noted that despite our brainy national image, Washington state has shockingly low college-going rates compared to the rest of the country. Only 60 percent of high school graduates here enroll in any four-year institution.

But for low-income kids, the rates are truly troubling.

Among the Class of 2012, only 18 percent enrolled in four-year colleges. Instead, many chose to attend no-barrier community colleges — even those who do well in school and score highly on standardized tests. Number-crunchers at the State of Washington Education Research & Data Center ran figures for The Times, and found that only 21 percent of low-income students who’d tested well in math went to four-year schools. But about one-third enrolled at community colleges (see graph below).

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0 Comments | More in News | Topics: Community colleges, counselors, graduation rates

April 17, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Round-up: Veterans have trouble securing financial aid, Portland’s Common Core concerns

Veterans face challenges paying for higher education (NPR): A variety of programs exist to help veterans pay for college, but many face confusion figuring out which funds they qualify for and what paperwork they need to fill out. Many schools are opening veteran resource centers to help students navigate the financial-aid maze.

Portland school board members express concern over Common Core (The Oregonian): Board members who generally support the standards say they are worried about teacher preparedness and whether schools have the technology and materials to implement the tests.

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April 17, 2014 at 2:45 AM

Local parent empowerment effort wins $500,000 grant

A new parent empowerment program, aimed at immigrants, will get underway in White Center and Federal Way with help from a $500,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The Kellogg Foundation on Thursday announced that the Washington state proposal was one of 30 selected for its new grant program aimed at helping parents become leaders in early childhood education.

More than 1,130 groups applied for $13.7 million in grants.  The 83-year-old Kellogg Foundation said that is the most applications it has ever received for a single funding opportunity.

In Washington, the money will be used for a pilot project led by OneAmerica, an immigrant rights group, along with the Road Map Project and the Seattle Jobs Initiative.

Those groups will select 30 immigrant parents who will receive leadership training and support in reaching their career goals.

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0 Comments | More in News | Topics: OneAmerica, parent engagement, Road Map Project

April 16, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Quiz: Try out new SAT questions

The College Board has released a series of sample questions for the new SAT, set to roll out in 2016.

Among other changes, the new SAT will do away with obscure vocabulary words, and the essay requirement will become optional. Wrong answers will no longer be penalized.

Curious how the new test stacks up against your recollection of the SAT? Try out a few sample questions in our quiz:

Sample questions from the new SAT

On Wednesday, the College Board released sample questions for the redesigned SAT, set to roll out in 2016. Try your hand at some of the questions by taking our quiz.

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0 Comments | More in News | Topics: SAT, standardized tests

April 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Round-up: Food scam costs Edmonds SD thousands, College Board offers glimpse of new SAT

Former food workers cost Edmonds School District thousands (The Herald): A state auditor’s report has uncovered additional expenses in a scam involving former food workers in the Edmonds School District. Investigators now say the two employees billed for 5,276 bogus student meals, receiving $14,774.75 in federally subsidized pay that they never earned.

Eastside voters about to decide second school bond in two months (KING 5): The Lake Washington School District is once again asking voters to approve a bond measure that would provide funding for new schools and expand existing buildings. The $404-million bond is about half the cost of a similar measure that was voted down in February.

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April 16, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Suspensions and expulsions: A close look at nine districts

Screen grab

Screen grab of Washington Appleseed’s preliminary analysis for Seattle Public Schools. Go here for a full resolution version.

Last year, the nonprofit Washington Appleseed had a difficult time finding out exactly how many students are suspended or expelled each year in Washington state.

This year, with more data available from the state, it is putting together a still-incomplete, but much fuller picture, looking at patterns among the roughly 47,500 students suspended or expelled at least once in the 2012-13 school year.

This week, the group released an analysis of discipline data from nine school districts: Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Marysville, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma and Yakima.

Appleseed warns that the numbers are preliminary, so they might contain errors. It also cautions against reading too much into district-by-district comparisons because some districts report differently than others.

One salient example: Federal Way counts all the days expelled students are absent, and other districts do not. That’s why it looks like students in Federal Way miss much more school due to suspensions and expulsions than much bigger districts such as Seattle and Spokane.

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0 Comments | More in News | Topics: discipline

April 15, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Round-up: Enrollments decline at small colleges, Cowlitz County faces substitute-teacher shortage

Small U.S. colleges face declining enrollments (Bloomberg): Many small, private colleges across the U.S. are seeing enrollments decline, leading to a sharp increase in the number of schools experiencing ratings cuts. Some colleges are targeting different student populations, while others are offering bigger financial aid packages in an effort to draw more students.

Cowlitz County confronts shortage of substitute teachers (The Daily News): Schools across Cowlitz County are scrambling to find substitute teachers, with some using principals and uncertified teachers as emergency fill-ins. The Longview School District says its pool of substitute teachers has been depleted by a recent shift to all-day kindergarten and reduced class sizes.

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April 15, 2014 at 5:00 AM

More help navigating the college-application obstacle course

Reuben Santos goes over scholarship possibilities with Caroline Sacerdote at Franklin High School's College Access Now office. Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times 2011

Reuben Santos goes over scholarship possibilities with Caroline Sacerdote at Franklin High School’s College Access Now office. Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times 2011

Washington’s dismal rate of low-income students enrolling in four-year schools — a stunningly low 18 percent — surprised some who read our Sunday story about college guidance and the lack of help available to many students.

School counselors, it turns out, are not trained in this increasingly complex arena, which could be a major reason behind the low numbers nationally. (Watch this space for another likely contributor to the low rates in Washington.)

Locally, the nonprofit Rainier Scholars provides a powerful answer to about 60 students each year. But the criteria to get in are rigid. You must sign up in fifth grade. You must be a child of color. And you must show academic promise, as determined by Rainier Scholars.

So what if you’re not right for that program? What if you’re a foster kid who’s bounced from school to school for years and doesn’t have great grades?

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0 Comments | More in News | Topics: college readiness, counseling, higher ed

April 14, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Round-up: WSU considers opening med school, Denver hires undocumented teachers

WSU considers opening medical school in Spokane (AP): A projected need for more doctors has prompted Washington State University to consider opening a new medical school at its Spokane campus. Washington currently has one medical school — at the main UW campus in Seattle — and WSU officials say doctor shortages in Eastern Washington are creating an additional need.

Denver schools hire undocumented immigrants as teachers (AP): Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg says his district has hired two teachers who qualified to stay in the U.S. under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. ”Anything that touches on immigration generates a level of attention and controversy,” he told the AP. “But for us, this is about finding the very best teachers for our kids.”

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